Prax has many Sacred Societies, of which four share common properties. These are the Sacred Societies of the Rivals, or the Societies of the Three Feathered Rivals and Condor. They were created early on during the Empire of the Wyrms Friends as that body exerted its influence in Prax. The EWF wanted the Rivals Societies to spread the influence of the EWF throughout the tribes and clans of Prax, to unite the tribes and to bind them to Pavis, Adari and the Storm Hills. However, the Societies proved to be uncontrollable and soon went their own ways, becoming important to the mythic structure of Prax. They sided with Waha and helped in raids against Adari and Pavis, the very towns they were crested to help defend. They combined and attacked the Six Sisters but were forced back. Finally, Raven helped show the Troll army from Dagori Inkarth to attack Pavis as Sun Hawk and Condor were forced back by the forces of Darkness. The defeat of the Pure Horse Society weakened the sun hawk Society which then banned women members and retreated to Sun County where it established a stronghold. When the EWF fell, it is said that Raven helped assassins kill the Priests in Pavis. Thunder Bird led raids into the EWF. When the True Golden Horde entered Dragon Pass, Sun Hawk saw the danger and turned back with the other Rivals and escaped the destruction of the Dragonkill.
Unlike the Jrusteli, the EWF did not create new myths or drastically alter old ones, they merely followed well-established techniques and showed how separate myths were connected, so their creations were normally well-founded and long-lasting.
The EWF managed to access parts of the Rivals' power and stored this power in a number of servant spirits, in the same way that they had stored knowledge of WyrmTongue in spirits. They then developed a way of summoning those spirits and binding people together using the spirits.
Because of the nature of the Rivals, a person possessed by a Rival Spirit cannot become possessed by a Defeated Spirit until the Victorious Spirit is removed first. Similarly, any Victorious Spirit will automatically force out a Defeated Spirit in Spirit Combat without any attempt at combat. Thus, people may only join the stronger Society if they already belong to a Society. So, a member of the Thunderbird Society cannot join the Sun Hawk Society but may join the Raven Society, which means leaving the Thunder Bird Society. Once a member of the Raven Society he can then join the Sun Hawk Society and leave the Raven Society. A member of a Three Feathered Rival Society may not join the Condor Society as that is Defeated by all the Rivals. For this reason, a person may only be possessed by a Spirit of a single Rival type.
Most Shamans in one of the Rival's Societies know how to worship their Rival as a Spirit Cult. When worshipped in this way, each possessing spirit counts as a worshipper and can donate Magic Points, thus making worship easier for the Society, even when the Society has a small number of members. When s Shaman summons another spirit for worship, all members of the Society may join in the worship. Other Shamans present may also learn to summon the spirits for worship, thus spreading the power around and making the Society stronger as a whole. So, these Societies often have access to many unusual spells and skills normally unobtainable. Visiting Shamans often will summon new spirits so that the other Shamans present may summon them in the future. This strengthens the Society, the Spirits, the local Clan/Tribe and the culture as a whole. Thus, depending on where they live, Thunder Bird members may use Wind Walking from Gargarth and Impede Chaos from Storm Bull or Snow from Inora and Shield from Valind, or Flight from Orlanth and Lightning from Lightning Boy almost as a matter of course.
The Sacred Societies of the Rivals are spread throughout Prax and the Wastes and even reached the Storm Hills and the borders of Dagori Inkarth. Some Pentian clans have members of the Societies, but this is very rare. The number of members of each Society depends on the clan/tribe involved, some clans may have a couple of members of the Society whereas others may have several dozen, some may have none, for instance the male only Sun Hawk Society has no members in the Unicorn Tribe and the Raven Society is not welcomed in Sun County. Where the Societies exist in a clan they are generally not kept secret, everyone knows that Sun Hawk Truth-Tellers and the Storm-touched members of the Thunder Bird Society, even the entertainers of the Raven Society are known and respected, as long as they don't harm their own clan. The Waha hierarchy welcome the Societies as they provide important skills and spells. The rulers of Pavis and the Big Rubble see the Societies as necessary links to the nomads. Lunars see them as civilising influences and try to infiltrate the Societies. Sun Hawk officials welcome the Sun Hawk and Condor Societies, restrict the Thunder Bird Society and harass the Raven Society. Oasis folk gladly embrace the Societies as they give them more power and may cause fellow members in raiding groups to be less hostile. Even trolls may join the Raven Society and anyone who dreams of the Thunder Bird may join his society, even broos and other Chaos things.
Shamans of the Raven Society can brew a Sacred Poison and can summon one of Raven's Spirits to possess prospective members. candidates for membership in the Raven Society must show an aptitude for Acting/Entertainment/Illusion/Theft or must have been visited by the Raven in dreams, visions or on HeroQuest. They must survive an ordeal which culminates in drinking the Sacred Potion and being possessed by the Raven Spirit. This Spirit increases the member's Acting Skill by its POWx5%. This does not affect experience rolls etc. but acts as a continual bonus. Members of the Society always succeed in Acting against members of the Thunder Bird or Condor Societies and always fail against members of the Sun Hawk Society. Members of the Raven Society always count as members of the Raven Cult even if they have never worshipped the Raven.
Shamans of the Raven Society can summon the Raven as a Spirit Cult and may also summon friendly Darkness or Illusion Spirits - In the Rubble they can contact Black Fang, in Adari they contact Xentha. Members of the Raven Society gain the skills/benefits of the Raven Cult but may also learn skills/spells etc. from fellow members of the Society. This does not allow them to learn restricted spells etc. but does allow them to learn normally unavailable skills/spells. When members of the Raven Society visit from far-away places they often teach their exotic skills/spells,often resulting in impromptu master-classes.
The Raven Society provides the skills of Acting, Entertainment and Theft to its friends. If a theft or Illusion is required, especially in Ritual circumstances, then a member of the Raven Society is called on to perform the deed.
Prospective members of the Sun Hawk Society must be male, belong to a Fire/Sky/Light/Heat cult and must be known to be honest. If they survive their initiation Ordeal they are covertly possessed by a Sun Hawk Spirit which allows them to tell whether someone is telling the truth on a POWx5% roll. If they ever knowingly tell a lie the spirit will leave.
Members of the Sun Hawk Society are prized as honest advisors and for their truth-telling abilities. They are also skilled Law Speakers and interrogators. They can always tell whenever members of the Raven and Condor Societies are lying but can never tell when members of the Thunder Bird Society are lying.
Members of the Sun Hawk Society count as members of the Sun Hawk Cult. Shamans may summon a variety of Fire/Sky spirits and often form Spirit Cults around those spirits. In Pavis they may worship the Sun Dragon, in Prax they can worship any of the Fire Spirits. As such they have many spells and abilities of the Fire Tribe as well as the spells and abilities of the Sun Hawk cult. Sun County members may use fire magics even if they also belong to the cult of Yelmalio.
Prospective members of the Thunder Bird Society must have had a dream or vision of the Thunder Bird or must have encountered it. As part of the meeting or vision they would have seen where a Thunderbolt struck the ground. If they dig at this point they will find a Thunderstone which is their key to membership in the Sacred Society. A Divination to Thunderbird will reveal whether Thunder Bird met them in a dream or in reality, if so they may attempt their Ordeal. Survival in the Ordeal will result in covert possession by a Thunder bird spirit which allows them to forecast the weather for the next day on a POWx5% roll. They can also tell whether the weather has been magically changed using this skill. If the weather was changed by a member of the Sun Hawk or Condor Society then they will always know, if changed by a member of the Raven Society.
The Thunder Bird Society is renowned for its control of the weather and for its skill as warriors and healing. Its members count as members of the Thunder Bird cult and its Shamans specialise in the summoning of Air/Storm Spirits - in the Storm Hills they summon Orlanth, in the Wastes Gargarth, near Dagori Inkarth they summon Inora, near Pent it is Valind. Many members also worship Orlanth, Storm Bull or Gargarth.
The Thunder Bird Society is especially prized in times of drought or when Storm Bull or Gargarth rages. In Prax they areas strong as the Orlanth Thunderous Cult.
Prospective members must have seen the Condor in a dream or vision or must have met the Condor. Upon undergoing the Ordeal they are possessed by a Condor Spirit which gives them a Speak to Birds ability at the Spirit's POWx5%. Members must never harm a condor or vulture or their eggs, doing so means the loss of their Condor Spirit and the loss of membership of the Condor Society.
Members of the Condor Society count as members of the Condor Cult. Their Shamans can summon some Bird Spirits and some Star Spirits. members may awaken Condors as Allied Spirits or familiars. They are prized as trackers and guides.